AP source: Kirschner named interim AD at Rutgers

Associated Press

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A source with knowledge of the appointment says Rutgers is turning to former dean Carl Kirschner to run its athletic department amid the basketball scandal that led to the firing of coach Mike Rice and the resignation of athletic director Tim Pernetti.

The source spoke on the condition of anonymity Monday because the appointment had not been announced by the university. The Star-Ledger of Newark first reported the decision.

This is the second time that Kirschner will run the program. He took over at the start of 2009 after Robert Mulcahy was fired, and held the role for four months, stepping down when Pernetti took over.

This time, Kirschner takes over in a time of crisis. Rutgers has seen it status plummet after ESPN aired a video last Tuesday, showing Rice grabbing and kicking players at practice while uttering anti-gay slurs.

Rice was fired on Wednesday, less than 12 hours after university president Robert Barchi viewed the video for the first time.

Jimmy Martelli, one of Rice's assistants, and university interim general counsel John Wolf, resigned over the next two days. And Pernetti resigned Friday, claiming the university's legal department and independent counsel explained to him that there was not sufficient evidence to fire Rice initially.

Kirschner's first order of business will be to find a new athletic director, who then would have to hire a new coach for a basketball team that hasn't been to the NCAA tournament since 1991.

Kirschner is a former dean at Rutgers College. He also serves on the school's Academic Oversight Committee for Athletics.

Timing is critical for Rutgers, which also was cast in a negative spotlight in 2010 when freshman Tyler Clementi committed suicide after a roommate made a webcast of him kissing another male student.

Some influential donors have threatened to cut off funds to the university, which also might face legal action from former athletes. And Eric Murdock, a former member of Rice's staff who released the video, has filed a whistleblower suit.